Moments ago, the United States Senate voted to confirm Senator Chuck Hagel as America’s next Secretary of Defense. I pray that he shows more wisdom and conviction as SECDEF than he demonstrated during his Senate career or during his disastrous confirmation hearing.
It’s difficult to find a silver lining when in the recent past the Democrats showed no such reluctance to filibuster as they blocked John Bolton’s nomination for U.N. Ambassador – mere months after George W. Bush’s re-election.
Was our fight worth it? I have to agree with Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin:
But those who will say the fight wasn’t worth it are wrong. Far from suffering a defeat, the last six weeks of close political combat on the issue have only strengthened the position of the pro-Israel community.
He goes on:
But the process that unfolded since the president’s announcement was no defeat for friends of Israel. For all of Hagel’s trouble in mouthing the stands that he was forced to adopt since his nomination, the mere fact that he had to disavow his contemptuous dismissal of the pro-Israel community and pledge his everlasting support for the alliance with the Jewish state and readiness to use both sanctions and force against Iran is no small thing. In essence, Hagel had to renounce every single position that endeared him to his biggest fans among the so-called “realists” and other assorted Israel-bashers.
This is exactly right. Senator Hagel simply couldn’t be confirmed as himself. And now he knows that he’ll be under close scrutiny – as we watch to see whether he reverses himself again.
We can’t kid ourselves. The wrong man is at the helm of the Department of Defense. At the same time, however, because hundreds of thousands of Americans spoke up, the wrong man has been forced to advocate many of the right positions.
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I would say that I pity Chuck Hagel. After all, here was his mandate: Maintain America’s strategic position while shrinking American military power and amplifying the Obama administration’s desires for global disengagement. It turns out that the SECDEF could accomplish only two of those missions.